As a newbie in the startup industry and world of business and finance, attending a MaGIC GAP Demo Day was nothing short of exciting, if even a little nerve-wracking.
There were a total of 44 startups pitching, which was divided into 2 sessions. The first session lasted from 10:15am to to noon, with a 1 hour break for lunch. The second session ended around 4pm. So I heard a total of roughly 5 hours of pitches almost back to back.
It was pretty intense sitting there, but as I listened, I realised there were some that I found more practical and relatable, with affordable price points that I would willingly pay for.
Of course, they had to be active in Malaysia and accessible where I am.
Just a caveat—some of these services are offered for free to the consumers as they monetise in other ways. Even more power to the user then.
So here they go, in no particular order:
Collectco began by presenting a simple problem—missing deliveries, or making returns from online purchases. Not only is it a hassle to return to the seller, often the courier stores are not open at night, making it difficult for people that work 9–5.
Therefore, it is something they aim to solve by converting retail stores into post offices where users can return and drop off parcels.
They also partner with shops in multiple locations across the Klang Valley, which means I don’t have to drive to an isolated location just to pick-up or return my parcel.
Their partnership with online merchants like Lazada and Zalora also means I can handle my returns fuss-free, without any additional cost. That’s definitely a major plus point for me.
Anyone with a storefront can easily sign up to be a Collectco point as the Lee Xin, the CTO explained:
“We don’t want to just be a pickup point, so our strength lies in our ability to deliver and provide a logistics solution so we can create value with our partners.”
Another interesting startup was CanLaw, a lawyer discovery platform where Malaysians can source for lawyers that suit their budget and requirements. Loo Soon Yi, founder of CanLaw, wants to bring justice for all by using innovative legal services through technology.
A startup that already packed many awards under its belt, CanLaw’s journey has been anything but boring—from having their activities suspended by the Bar Council to partnering with the Persatuan Peguam Syarie Malaysia.
“That was a difficult time as we were left with no product and an entire team to provide for,” Soon Yi said.
I might not need CanLaw in my day to day life, but if anything ever came up, I can definitely see the usefulness of a listing or directory like theirs.
On top of that, I felt that CanLaw’s mission to ensure justice could be reached for everybody was an admirable thing to do, as they do not charge consumers for using their platform. Instead, they charge a monthly listing fee for lawyers who want to receive job requests through CanLaw and advertising if they want to be featured.
If you’ve ever had to buy a house, you’ll understand the pains (or excitement) that comes with designing and decorating a new house.
Furmingo is a one-stop platform that provides a service where you can order an interior designer in 48 hours and have the design done in 3 hours, compared to traditional service that will take up to 3 days, all with the help of a special design software.
“My friends always ask me to design their house for free,” Frank Wong, the founder, shared. “Now I tell them they can get a free consultation on Furmingo, and at a cheaper price too!”
A truly helpful platform, I believe everyone should use Furmingo for a free consultation, as they do give aesthetic tips on what furnishing styles work best for your personal preference and choices.
Additionally, their time-effective 3D modelling design software certainly can help save designers struggling to balance both social life and work.
4. Mutant Dreams
Mutant Dreams focuses on textile printing by manufacturing Heat Transfer Stickers that can be printed on any fabric and paper-based surface.
The market price to print one colour sheet is US$0.24. It is expensive and takes time to eventually be delivered. Therefore, they invented a new heat transfer product that is better, faster, and cheaper.
Kok Sun, CEO of Mutant Dreams uses the MaGIC logo as an example.
“We are selling this MaGIC logo at USD 0.12 which has 90% savings from the alternative. You can print 60,000 of the logos in one day, which is much faster. The picture can also be transferred to any shirt, bag, or cap.”
He then picked up all the items to illustrate his point—his cap, bag, and shirt, all bearing the same logo.
Eager to prove the product’s quality, he challenged the crowd to approach him for a stretching test for the sticker, promising to buy them teh tarik if he loses.
As someone who has had to plan and manage multiple events, it was a headache, especially when it came to getting committee shirts for the crew. There was the design to create, shirt size and material to think of, and price when it came down to deciding how many to order. All of this which took excessive time, slowing down the process and event launch.
With Mutant Dreams, one could just use heat-transfer to transfer the stickers on the shirt—a much cheaper and faster alternative. It can last for at least 20 washes, which is more than enough when you do not intend to wear the shirt permanently.
5. Otomate Me
Otomate Me is an online subscription service for your care essentials. Often, looking for care items for children and the elderly can be straining because they have to be restocked monthly and for a long period of time, the sources are fragmented and there is no stock guarantee.
Otomate Me has an algorithm that integrates behavioral science with artificial intelligence. This allows them to offer subscription services that are usage-based. By subscribing to their platform, the system will be able to identify when the stock has run out and deliver the items directly.
Azlan, co-founder and CTO of Otomate Me, believes they can make e-commerce easier to simplify their customers’ lives by bringing autonomous shopping to every household.
“We automate your recurring needs and are redefining convenience while doing so,” he added.
Since I cannot rely on myself to remember anything important at all, I take this as a life-saving breakthrough, because thank you for delivering my grandmother’s essential’s to me.
Not only does this ensure the products will reach the people who need it, it takes off a load of the parents’ and caretakers’ backs. They will be able to manage their lives better whilst one of their worries is being well-taken care of.
6. Techcare Innovation
Techcare Innovation uses smart rehabilitation as a way to help people exercise and maintain their health at an optimum level even after reaching old age.
Khor, the founder, starts with delivering some shocking facts—every 20 minutes, one person dies due to heavy fall. Therefore, he wants to improve the body’s balance and coordination through the use of fitness machines with virtual reality.
Their main product is known as Fibod, a smart fitness balance board that allows users to train and improve their balancing skills while playing a virtual reality game.
With the software, they have different programs where the customer can choose their training program based on levels of difficulty or type of exercise. Based on their performance, the software will access their progress and determine how to speed up their recovery rate.
To me, this concept is amazing—it promises a glimpse in the future that exercise might not have to take up so much effort. As we focus our concentration on the game onscreen, the machine monitors your heartbeat and pulse rate, determining how fast or slow you should go to maximise the benefits yet not pushing past your limits.
This is something I would recommend for my grandmother or grandfather, since outdoor jogging is too strainous and dangerous for them.
Even though the machine proves to be costly, I agree that it is important for the elderly to train their balance and maintain their health, such as it is one’s responsibility to keep fit.
In just 4 weeks, a client showed 60% reduction of fall risk, which helped save on many other costs, such as hospitalisation, long-term medical treatments and medicine.
Serv aims to serve Malaysian car owners that want to get their car serviced, except that they bring their service to you, instead of you going to them.
“Instead of bringing your car to the workshop, we bring the mechanics to you by using a shared-economy platform,” said Arief, CEO of Serv.
In their pitch, Serv managed to identify one of the biggest issues that Malaysians complain about every year—the hassle of bringing your car to the workshop and facing a dilemma where you either have to wait for a long time in the workshop or try your luck getting someone to pick you up in the middle of nowhere.
Therefore, delivering a mechanic to your doorstep is a brilliant concept. Also, the prices are pre-listed before you call for them so you know exactly how much you’ll be paying.
The local mechanics’ unemployment rate is also increasing year by year and the employed ones have low income. Therefore, Serv offers employment opportunity for mechanics to increase employment and provide them with a good future.
The service also comes with a free inspection of your car so that customers can understand the problem and how to tackle it properly. Similar to Grab and Uber, Serv has an app where you can call for their mechanics anytime, just don’t forget to leave a rating after!
Teleme is a health care online platform that gives virtual access to doctors and specialists all across Asia.
This startup came about when the founder, Mark, had his uncle diagnosed with cancer. They had to make weekly visits to the hospital; his cousin sister had to miss work to accompany him, wait for hours in line, and sometimes spent full days at the hospital.
[Editor’s Note: A previous version of the article stated that a different relative had cancer. We apologise for any misunderstanding caused.]
This led to a very unpleasant experience, so Mark founded Teleme, which he hopes to bring convenience and access for patients to doctors.
“Our mission is to reduce physical visits to follow-up virtual visits and lower healthcare costs.”
Holding that mission close to his heart, Mark has managed to achieve a total of 2,000 users since September 2017 and is seeing a successful growth rate in the US as well.
Another useful platform to help integrate more convenience in our lives, Teleme is useful if you feel the starting symptoms of an illness but don’t want to ride out for a visit to the doctor’s.
The user can choose to consult not one, but as many doctors as they want on the platform, if they are not confident after one consultation and require a few more. They can also choose chat or video consultation to communicate with the doctor.
For me, this would be incredibly useful to not go see the doctor, since I can already set up an appointment for it online. Plus point is, we get to avoid queues, awkward conversations with strangers, and basically not having to fear the germs that plague sickly people at the hospital.
“Who here is pregnant now?” co-founder of PantangPlus, Hisamudin, asks:
No one raised their hand, so he rephrased:
“Who here has made someone pregnant before?”
Mothers usually have a difficult time during the post-delivery period as there is lack of post-natal therapists and awareness on the importance of this care for both the mother and the baby.
During confinement, the husband often doesn’t help much and the mother may not receive enough support from elderly or busy family members. Plus, the modern-day mother is constantly busy, so the work combined with her body changes may take a toll on her physically.
PantangPlus solves this problem by providing an online booking platform where customers can search for therapists providing traditional post-natal care and Malay massage with hot-stone therapy.
I liked that this startup was formed to help post-pregnant mothers seek aid or therapeutic massage to take their minds off their sore and aching body.
It helps to the body to fully recover during post-delivery and provides a source of relief with those suffering backaches, shoulder pain and joint pains.
Just to clarify, I’m not pregnant at the moment (nor do I intend to be in the near future), but I can see this being useful for my friends that are already married and will start popping out babies soon.
I will brace myself for the flood of baby pictures when that time comes. Till then, this is my way of saying “Congratulations”.
Even after the event ended, the excitement at meeting so many new startups lingered in my head, and I couldn’t wait to check them out online.
Although it was highly unlikely I could fit all 44 in my article, all the startups nevertheless presented well, each flaunting their own skills and flair.
It was an enjoyable experience for me to pick up as much new knowledge as I could, and learning more about these small business that could one day be huge game-changers in the market opened my eyes to new possibilities that I never thought of before.